Activities for a fashion and beauty fanatic in London and Paris
May 17, 2014 11:02 AM   Subscribe

We have booked our trip to London and Paris this summer-yay! My 17 year old daughter will be with us, and she loves everything related to fashion and beauty-style guides, shopping, makeup, museums, resale stores, all that. I don't love to shop, but am happy to include some in our trip. Any specific ideas for us in those two cities?

Details: London June 24-July 1 (though may leave earlier); Paris July 1-8. Staying in Le Marais in Paris on Rue Quincampoix. In London we'll be at the Hilton London Metropale. Comfortable with public transportation. I'm not looking to spend a fortune, but money isn't a huge barrier if an experience is really fabulous. For instance, I've seen some tours in France that take you to boutiques and teach about style, like this-any suggestions about something like this? In short, what should our don't misses be (already planning on Harrods and the Victoria and Albert Museum)?
posted by purenitrous to Travel & Transportation around London, England (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Go to the Liberty department store in London, it is a delight.
posted by runincircles at 11:44 AM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not shopping exactly, but it sounds like your daughter would really love the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the Barbican. I saw it in Stockholm last year and it was really good, a lot of fun. Browsing the associated museum shop afterwards was also fun, to bring it back to actual shopping, since the things for sale made more sense after being given the context etc by the exhibition.
posted by shelleycat at 11:47 AM on May 17, 2014

Check out the Palais Galliera and Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris. Both will have amazing fashion/costume exhibitions.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 12:02 PM on May 17, 2014

Before I went to London in 2007, I emailed Susie Bubble for some ideas and recommendations; I've passed the email on numerous times since then! If there are any particular London or Paris fashion bloggers your daughter loves, maybe have her drop them an email for recommendations or see if they've written up a shopping guide.

Some London ideas: Oxford Street (Topshop, etc.), Carnaby Street, Covent Garden, and Camden Town markets (especially if she loves vintage or alternative fashion).

A friend of mine who is a stylish girl in Paris put together a shopping guide for visitors; she did not steer me wrong!

You're also in luck in terms of timing -- France highly regulates the amount of time that things can go on sale ("les soldes") to twice a year, and July is the summer sale. This year summer sales begin on June 25th and continue through July 29th.
posted by littlemisslaika at 12:58 PM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Check out London's Victoria and Albert Museum.
posted by monotreme at 1:41 PM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Drugstores in both countries would probably be fun for her to browse. In the U.K., Boots own brand 17 is one to seek out, as well as Kiko, Barry M., and Sleek. Go into a Superdrug too for inexpensive fun products.

Sephora carries some different brands/lines in Europe, so she might like to browse there even though we do have it here.

Is she interested in perfume? In France she might enjoy visiting shops and sampling fragrances that are pricey/hard to find in the U.S. Guerlain, Annick Goutal, Diptyque, L'Artisan, Fragonard, Serge Lutens...there are dozens. And Jo Malone in London. Have fun!
posted by CheeseLouise at 1:53 PM on May 17, 2014

Make a day trip up to Bath and see the Fashion museum there.
posted by brujita at 2:58 PM on May 17, 2014

Maybe a proper bra fitting at Bravissimo (one of the few stores with decent in-store fitters and a good selection)? Contrary to popular belief, DD is not "huge." Good fashion starts with good foundation garments. She'll be lightyears ahead of her peers if she breaks out of the "sized at Victoria's Secret" mold (protip: they know nothing about sizing).
posted by melissasaurus at 4:58 PM on May 17, 2014

Some of these have been mentioned before but:

Start by going to Oxford Street and head over to Topshop. Then be sure to check out Selfridges. This area is a total zoo but it will be worth it if she's never been. Then walk over to Regent Street and be sure to go to Liberty. It really is the best of them all because they still have the beautiful Liberty prints by the bolt and everything is housed in a charming old tudor style building.

You can then make your way towards the Bond street area where you will likely be doing a lot of window shopping and not much else. Because everything is a zillion dollars. But it's fun to see how the other half live and there is a lot of history tucked away in all these little bespoke boutiques, most of which have been crafting personalized products and clothing for London's elite for years.

You mentioned Harrods (which can be great, depending) but for a much more civilized experienced, duck into Harvey Nichols, next door. They are generally thought to have better buyers, catering more to locals. After you've shopped till you dropped, head down to the basement and get a delicious (but budget friendly) dinner at Wagamama. You won't regret it!

If you've still not tuckered out after all that, I would suggest a day in Chelsea along the King's Road- starting in Sloane Square. It has a lot of the familiar high street shops but tons of cool, stand alone boutiques. It's just far enough off the beaten path that most of the tourists never get it to and it still has a nice 'neighhorhood-y' feel. During nice weather, there a delicious food market by the Saatchi gallery. Start at The Botanist for tea or a snack and when you've walked the length of the road have dinner at Bluebird. A pefect afternoon!

Oooh- I almost forgot! The markets!! London has sooo many markets and lots of them are great. Portobello in the Notting Hill is the biggie. I really love Bermondsey for a better deal... but that's in a slightly drab part of town. Many people love Spitalfields too.
posted by ChickenBear at 3:53 PM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

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